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Reichard starts charity, impacts children's lives

By Tom Downey
On February 9, 2012

Miami University's senior goalie Cody Reichard has already accomplished something that most people will never do throughout their life: start his own charity. Swoop's Stoop, which Reichard began after his sophomore year, gives back to kids who have been affected by life changing illnesses at Cincinnati Children's Hospital (Children's).

Swoop's Stoop raised over $16,000 by the end of 2011 and continues to grow.

"It was something a lot of pro athletes do, but I'd never seen it done at the college level," Reichard said. "It was a way to give back to a community and a university that has given a lot to me."

Members of the Miami University hockey team often make visits to Children's to visit the children that the charity tries to help.

"It means a lot to me. You go to the hospital and you see some of the things those kids are going through and just how they smile and still have such a positive attitude," Reichard said. "It puts things in perspective pretty quick. It is a humbling experience."

Lisa Hall, a staffer at Children's, explained how helpful the team has been with the kids.

"Cody's always willing to help. It's really nice to see guys his age willing to give back," Hall said. "The people who he chooses to bring with him are the best. They are engaging and we never have to worry about them. It is a joy to have them. It's a great bunch of guys."

One of the players that often visits the hospital is Reichard's roommate, senior forward and tri-captain Alden Hirschfeld.

"It puts a lot of things in perspective for you," Hirschfeld said. "It is awesome to be able to go down and hang out with them for a day and make them smile and help take their mind off of everything that is going on."

When the team is at home, families are invited to Goggin Ice Center to watch one of the hockey games. The families receive free tickets, food and are recognized during the game.

"We try to give our guys the chance to give back," Head Coach Enrico Blasi said. "This is not just a hockey program, we are a program that tries to develop young men for life. What Cody is doing is taking that to the next level."

As a result of his charitable work off the ice, Reichard has been nominated for both the Lowe's Senior CLASS award and for the Hockey Humanitarian Award.

The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award is based on four principles: Classroom, Character, Community and Competition. Reichard also is a member of the RedHawk Council, which is Miami's student-athlete leadership council.

"He's got a big heart," Blasi said. "This is not something Cody has done for recognition, he does it regardless. That's the type of kid he is."

Saturday, the RedHawks will wear a special Swoop's Stoop jersey against the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

"It's important to Cody," Blasi said. "We wanted to pay tribute to the charity."

The jerseys will be auctioned off afterward to raise money for the charity.

"It should be a fun night," Reichard said. "We have a couple of families coming and hopefully we can make some money off the jerseys for the charity."

Reichard also wears a special goalie mask designed around Swoop's Stoop. The mask will be auctioned off at the end of the year to help raise money.

And while Reichard may be leaving the program after this year, Swoop's Stoop will not. He not only wants the charity to grow, but he hopes it will one day be able to help out families that are struggling with the financial costs of paying for their child's illness.

"It's going to stay here and hopefully live on long after I'm gone," Reichard said. "We'll hand it down to one of the guys on the team and we are currently in the process of putting a plan together to make sure it is sustainable and lasts for long time."

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